Do you remember the day you chose to be straight?
No, I suppose that you don't.
Just like I don't remember the day I chose to be a lesbian.
Because we didn't choose.
Simple as that.
However, I do remember the day I realised that I was different, also the day I understood that I liked girls the same way all my friends liked boys, and I will never forget the day it was hammered home that all of these feelings were best kept under wraps... each one of these days happened before my 7th birthday.
Today I was in a friendly conversation with an older man who lives in my neighborhood. We wave on sight, and if we are near to each other we take a few moments out for a bit of conversation.
We were talking about the hot weather and how Berlin really doesn't see so much of this kind of heat. We talked about our last towns... his in Bavaria, and mine in Kansas. He said that he missed snow, and I said that I missed exciting weather (I have a thing about thunderstorms, and European weather just doesn't have enough to suit me).
After this he asked the question which so many come to eventually, "Why did you come to Berlin?".
Since it has always been important for me to be open about these things, I gave him my stock answer, "I fell in love with a wonderful lady Berliner".
Like many people who do not know me well, he was taken aback. His gaze intensified as the wheels started turning. After all had been put to rights in his brain, he popped out with one of the more creative responses I've heard, "Soon you will realise that you want children, and another woman cannot give you this; then you will choose a nice man and settle down".
You need to know that I'm 46 years old, which puts me out of the child-bearing years... but to an octagenarian, I'm just one of those "kids", I'm sure.
In the end his assertion that I would change my mind later is just a variation on the "you're just in a phase", idea... which has always bugged me.
I'm so sick and tired of the old ideas that homosexuality is a phase, a choice, and/or a sickness which can be cured. The same goes for the idea of 'gay recruiting'. If you are really straight... do you think you can be 'turned' gay?
Were heterosexuals born that way, or did they choose it? I have been
known to ask them what they think. Often they are agasp! "Boh! Well, I
never chose to be straight, I am just this way". Why should my answer be
If it were simply a matter of conditioning, then everyone would be
straight. Mom and Pop are just the beginning.Try and imagine the world
in topsy-turvey mode. Imagine every TV show, book, magazine and movie
tells you that you should be GAY. You know you aren't, you know that you
won't be happy that way... but everyone and everything is telling you that is your path. How would you handle it?
All of this conditioning, all of this peer pressure to be straight, every indication around you telling you to be one way... yet you are most decidedly headed in a different direction. This is what it is like to grow up homosexual in a heterosexual environment.
Turns out there is substantial
evidence of genetic and prenatal components involved in sexual
orientation, not to mention the hundreds of species which exhibit
same-sex behaviors. In the end it has been proven time and again that a combination of genetic, hormonal and social factors determine sexual orientation and that the only "choice" made by people like me is whether to ignore the way we are and conform to society's expectations; or to live our lives as we feel most comfortable.
Rather than try to explain all of these factors to this nice man who was still wearing his customary smile, I told him that with two women in the relationship, there are twice as many possibilities for babies... if we were so inclined. We laughed it off, and went on to discuss his grandchildren who had come for a visit on the previous long weekend.
To my mind, being gay is no more of a "choice" than being left-handed and has many similarities.
What do you think?
What day did you choose your sexual preferences?